Gov. Quinn surveys Brookport damage - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Gov. Quinn surveys Brookport damage

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Gov. Quinn speaking in Brookport, Ill. Monday evening. (Source: Arnold Wyrick, Heartland News) Gov. Quinn speaking in Brookport, Ill. Monday evening. (Source: Arnold Wyrick, Heartland News)
Schollitta Burrus (Source: Pyle Funeral Home) Schollitta Burrus (Source: Pyle Funeral Home)
Robert Harmon (Source: Aikens Farmer Funeral Home) Robert Harmon (Source: Aikens Farmer Funeral Home)
Brookport, IL (Source: Arnold Wyrick) Brookport, IL (Source: Arnold Wyrick)
Brookport, IL (Source: Arnold Wyrick) Brookport, IL (Source: Arnold Wyrick)
(KFVS) -

Governor Pat Quinn was in Brookport, Ill. Monday to see the damage first-hand.

The damage stretches from Brookport all the way north to the Chicago suburbs. Throughout the day Monday, Gov. Quinn surveyed the damage across the state.

"We've never had this happen in the whole history of Illinois," Quinn said. "Five different places in our state, in the same day, had deadly tornadoes. It caused great, great damage and hurt many, many people. We're here to tell all the people who are effected by the tornado we're here to help you."

The newest counties being added are Douglas, Jasper, Pope, Wabash, Wayne and Will. The governor declared Champaign, Grundy, LaSalle, Massac, Tazewell, Washington and Woodford counties as state disaster areas on Monday.

The clean up process begins Tuesday and then there will be the assessment process of everyone's damage and lost belongings.

"The first role to play for that process is the initial damage assessment that has to happen at the local level to make sure that we know what damage is out there and how significant it was," said Jonathon Monken, director of the IEMA. "And make sure that we compile all that information at the state level to make the best case for that Federal Disaster Assistance request."

Crews surveyed damage in Brookport after an EF-3 tornado claimed three lives Sunday.

According to the National Weather Service, they have completed their survey from just west of Brookport to Smithland. They're still calling it an EF-3 and the entire track is 11 1/2 miles in Illinois. That's not counting when it traveled into Smithland, Ky. It had a width of about 225 yards with peak winds at 145 miles per hour.

Illinois State Police say there is still a curfew of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in place in Brookport. Limbs, debris and power lines are still down in the area and there are lots of nails on roads.

Victim information

Authorities confirm three people have died after a possible tornado hit Brookport. 

Illinois State Police Trooper Joey Watson says the three victims in Brookport were 58-year-old Kathy George, 56-year-old Robert Harmon, and 63-year-old Scholitta Burrus all of Brookport.

Two of the victims lived along Unionville Road. The other lives in the city limits of Brookport.

Kathy George

Funeral services for Kathy George will be Saturday November 23 at 1 p.m. at the Ninth Street Church of Christ. The church is located at 715 South 9th Street in Paducah. Visitation will be Friday, November 22 at Ninth Street Church of Christ from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Robert Oakley Harmon

Funeral services for Robert Oakley Harmon will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 23, 2013, at the Aikins Farmer Funeral Home with Bro. David LeNeave will officiating. Burial will follow in the Hamletsburg Cemetery. Harmon is survied by a son and daughter and several siblings.

Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 2013 at the Aikins Farmer Funeral Home.

Scholitta Burrus

Funeral services for Scholitta Burrus will be 11 a.m., Saturday, November 23, 2013 at Brookport Church of God (intersection of 4th & George Streets) with Rev. Charles Tate and Pastor Jeremy Beggs officiating. Interment will follow in Otterbien Cemetery in Pope County.

Visitation will be 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday at the Brookport Church of God.

Pyle Funeral Home in Johnston City is entrusted with the arrangements.

Washington, IL

Officials confirmed that one person died in the central Illinois community of Washington, where a tornado destroyed several blocks of houses. The Tazewell County Coroner's office on Monday said 51-year-old Steve Neubauer was found dead near his home.

New Minden, IL

A brother and sister were killed in Washington County, Illinois in a tornado.

Joseph R. Hoy, 80, of New Minden was pronounced dead at the scene of his farm at 14877 Eagle Road at 1:13 p.m. by Washington County Coroner Mark Styninger. Hoy's sister, Frances J. Hoy, 78, of the same address was pronounced dead in the emergency room at Washington County Hospital.

The farm was completely destroyed and Mr. Hoy appeared to have died instantly from massive trauma, according to the Washington County coroner. He was located in a farm field about 100 yards east of his home.

Frances' death was also from injuries sustained in the tornado.

Officials have confirmed two storm-related deaths in Michigan, raising to eight the toll from the heavy rain, powerful winds and tornadoes that formed across the region.

The Shiawassee County Sheriff's Department says 59-year-old Philip Daniel Smith of Perry in central Michigan was found dead and entangled in high-voltage power wires after going outside late Sunday to investigate a noise.

Also in central Michigan, Jackson County Sheriff Steven Rand says 21-year-old Ryan Allan Rickman of Leslie died when his vehicle was crushed by a fallen tree Sunday evening.

Brookport damage

"It's been a tough 24 hours. Brookport suffered a devastating blow," said Brookport Mayor Johnny Klaffer. "We are doing everything we can as fast as we can to get things in a more stable position."

Jason Farmer, Massac County board chairman, says crews were focuseing in the Unionville and Brookport areas.

Massac County Sheriff Ted Holder said that other than the city of Brookport, a 2-mile area of rural Massac County along Unionville Road suffered damage.

Forty-five to 50 homes have been either damaged or destroyed in Brookport.

All victims have been accounted for. Search and rescue efforts have been called off and crews are now going into a cleaning phase.

Rick Shanklin with the National Weather Service in Paducah said a survey team worked to determine the exact intensity of the event, which started in Brookport.

Shanklin also said the damage stemmed from one supercell tornado.

The National Weather Service is reporting there is no threat of severe weather over the next few days at this time.

Tina Hale with Ameren said 55 line personel are currently on the scene and 40 poles will be replaced.

Most of Brookport had been energized. Crews will continue to work on individual restoration.

A spokesperson with Liberty Utilities reported that gas is still on and leaks have been repaired. Twenty-five homes were impacted.

Important information for Brookport

Brookport Elementary School was used as a mobile hospital Sunday night. There were multiple people with head injuries, chest injuries, broken bones and other injuries.

Three triage points were set up for those wounded at the First Baptist Church at Pell and Stacy, Pelonia Place at Crockett and 4th, and at the foot of the Brookport Bridge.

The US 45 Brookport-Paducah Bridge over the Ohio River is shut down.

Only first responders are allowed into the area.

No one is being allowed into the area at that point without a proper Brookport address with and ID.

A K-9 search crew had been called in to search in the debris.

According to the school's website: 

With the exception of Brookport Elementary, school will resume in the Massac Unit 1 School District tomorrow, Tuesday, November 19th. Pick up points will be established for Brookport students who attend MJHS or MCHS. These pick-up points will be posted on the district website.

Brookport Elementary has been inspected by the District Architect and is structurally sound with the exception of some roof damage. We hope to be back in session at Brookport Elementary Wednesday or Thursday. In the meantime Brookport Elementary students are welcome to eat lunch at the school at 11 am.

There is a curfew in Brookport from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Those in the area are asked to stay off the phone as much as possible as cell resources are limited.

Donation/volunteer information

EMA teams will be assessing the extent of the damage and then a coordinated debris removal plan will be activated. At that time, volunteers will be integrated.

Agencies are establishing disaster relief drop points throughout Paducah and McCracken County, Ky. At this, the McCracken County Sheriff's Department said monetary donations are not being accepted; however, the following items are requested:

  • Hygiene products
  • Cleaning supplies and tools (rakes, shovels, brooms)
  • Household items
  • Water
  • Food (non perishable)
  • Cold weather clothing
  • Pet supplies

The following drop points will be collecting these items from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • Paducah Fire Department Station 1, located at 301 Washington Street
  • Mercy Regional EMS Station 1, located at 3551 Coleman Road
  • Lone Oak Fire Department, Station 1, located at 111 Cave Thomas Drive

All questions about the drop points should be directed to Mercy Regional EMS at 270-450-8050.

Victim registration will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Brookport City Council chambers on Tuesday, November 19.

There will be more information on Tuesday on volunteer registration for Wednesday for Unionville Rd.

Banterra Bank of Metropolis is collecting monetary donations.

Project Hope and the Landing Strip will be collecting pet supplies. You can call the Landing Strip at 618-638-6697 for more information.

The Red Cross has set up at the First Baptist Church in Metropolis at Metropolis Road and Massac Creek Road.

Officials plan to put out a call for volunteers but currrently the public is asked to not come to the site until that time.

Cleaning supply donations only are being accepted at the First Baptist Church in Metropolis at Metropolis Road and Massac Creek Road.

Firsthand accounts

Hundreds of homes are damaged in the Brookport, Illinois area. Buildings were smashed into piles of rubbles. Power lines were strewn through the town.

"I was asleep until about five minutes before the storm hit," said Cheryl Clifford. "My neighbor Mike came over and warned be about how bad everything was getting. We ran out of the house finally to get to his house as I watched my trailer literally pick up off the ground and shift a little bit. We came across town finally to go check on our friends. They're on the other side of Brookport and their trailer is completely gone."

Two young boys who were near the Ohio River heard the sirens and ran to take cover.

"We just saw these big 'ol clouds. I don't know if it was rain or clouds, but it was just moving across the water," said one boy. "So we started running up the hill over here. We was by the flood wall and it was hitting hard. We ran up and these nice people right down the street, they just let us in their house. They told us to come in. We sat in there until the storm died down."

"It was so bad that I got scared and I just pulled to the side of the road," said one man who rode out the storm in his vehicle. "And I was sitting there just praying that God, just for this to be over with and all of a sudden devastation hit and it was so bad. It was just really so bad seeing trailers ripped and shredded apart. All I did was got down in my seat and just lay there and pray that I wasn't going to be tossed away. In a split second it was over with."

"We opened the door and started looking around. My friend had come over and a tree had landed on top of his car, broke out a couple windows. The house next to us, a tree fell through their roof," said one man.

Power outages

Ameren Missouri has deactivated its Emergency Operations Center as of 6 p.m. on Monday. They say crews are in the field assisting with cleanup efforts on the remaining 900 outages and will have all power restored this evening.

Ameren Missouri field crews have restored power to more than 53,000 customers since yesterday.

The outages resulted from high winds that whipped through the area on Sunday. All total, Ameren Missouri deployed more than 1,000 workers, including vegetation management employees and field checkers, to assist with restoration efforts.

If your power goes out, call Ameren Missouri. Also, always call to report a low-hanging or downed line. The Ameren Missouri contact number is 1-800-552-7583. In addition, safety and outage information is available at the Ameren Missouri Outage Center at AmerenMissouri.com.

According to Ameren Illiinois, power has been restored to most of Brookport. The only area still without power is in the Lock and Dam area.

Ameren Illinois crews worked throughout the evening to restore service to more than 120,000 Ameren Illinois customers. More than1,000 Ameren co-workers and 350 additional contractor resources are working to repair damages.

The largest area without power is the greater Peoria-area of Washington, Morton, Metamora, Pekin, East Peoria, Groveland, Roanoke, Washington and Eureka. Areasincluding Bloomington, Lincoln , Danville, and Brookport also were hard-hit. 

All power has been restored to Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative members in Massac County, except for those who still need to make repairs on their side of the meter. Southern IL Electric Co-op experienced extensive damage to its electric distribution system in the Brookport and Unionville areas of Massac County. Initially, about 500 members were without power. Several poles and spans of wire are down. Downed power lines can be dangerous and even deadly.

SEMO Electric estimated close to 3,000 members were without power Sunday afternoon. Two substations were down and structure damage that was mainly contained in the mid to northern part of Scott County. All power had been restored by 11:55 p.m. Sunday. Crews are repairing poles and replacing damaged ones on Monday.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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